Trilby O’Ferrall, the novel’s heroine, is a half-Irish girl working in Paris as an artists’ model and laundress; all the men in the novel are in love with her. The relationship between Trilby and Svengali forms only a small portion of the novel, which is mainly an evocation of a milieu but it is a crucial one. The novel has been adapted to the stage several times; one of these featured the lead actress wearing a distinctive short-brimmed hat with a sharp snap to the back of the brim.
Jonathan Ross: I’m not trying to let her off the hook here, but do you think she didn’t know—she thought maybe there was a different way of doing makeup for somebody colored? Jourdan Dunn: But here’s my thing, if you’re a makeup artist, you should be able to do any type of makeup. If you’re a hair stylist you should be able to do any type of hair.